I laughed when I heard that Tom Herman had Greg Davis in the building last week consulting on the game plan and made the expected jokes, but damned if I didn't see Texas rolling out a classic Longhorn circa 2000-2004 GD game plan on offense this Saturday. 3 points at halftime, 3.5 yards per play, and no ability to game plan pressure defense told the tale. The opposite of deceptive is apparent. We ran apparent offense.
Entering Texas’ game against Oklahoma, questions existed about the Sooner defense under new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. UCLA, South Dakota, and even Texas Tech didn’t have the talent of the Longhorn offense. The common inquiry was what would happen when the Sooner defense faced an offense composed of talented players? On Saturday, they answered those questions with nine sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and a defensive effort that led the Sooners to a 34-27 victory.
For the second time in a row, Lincoln Riley successfully out-coached Tom Herman in this series and in particular caught him with his defensive staff's gameplan. Texas understandably went into this game intending to work over Oklahoma on the perimeter with the screen game early before circling back to the run game later. That didn't work out, for reasons we'll come back to later in this post, and the Longhorns were easily turned into a one-dimensional team that Oklahoma teed off against with pressures that resulted in 9 sacks over the course of the game.
Across college football, there is no true analog for the atmosphere in the Cotton Bowl during the Red River Shootout. In addition, nothing during the regular season can compare to the crowd reaction created when one team scores on the side of the stadium filled by opposing fans.
When freshman defensive tackle Keondre Coburn signed with Texas in February 2018, he made a promise on social media that he and the other members of Texas’ 2018 class would “beat OU and the rest of them.” Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t appreciate Coburn’s guarantee.
The Sooners routed their first five opponents (UH, South Dakota, UCLA, Texas Tech, Kansas) by an average score of 53-19. Those five teams currently combine for a 10-17 overall record and the only Sooner opponent with a winning record - 3-2 Texas Tech - lost starting QB Alan Bowman the week prior and chose to start a grad transfer from Rice in Norman before hastily inserting Jett Duffey.
Why is college football so special, so passion-driven, and held so dearly by millions of people around the country? Why is it unique to the United States? Why, in spite of any differences people may have individually, does it bring so many together year after year, season after season, week after week, game after game? Your answer is in Dallas this Saturday.